More than 100 Dakota Electric Association members volunteered their time on May 4 at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan as part of the annual, statewide, Touchstone Energy GreenTouch Day.

Volunteers of all ages planted 3,000 native plants and spread 21 pounds of seed mix in the woods by the equestrian trailhead. The native species planted this year will provide a natural habitat for animals and nature lovers to enjoy.

“Dakota Electric’s volunteers provided a great service to the park,” natural resource specialist Shannon Montante said. “The work they did will live on for decades by enhancing the natural beauty of the park for others to enjoy.”

Dakota Electric’s effort to organize volunteers at the park is part of a larger statewide program started by electric cooperatives in 2000. Since its inception, the GreenTouch event has attracted more than 10,000 volunteers statewide who have completed more than 36,970 volunteer hours benefitting Minnesota parks.

This was the seventh year Dakota Electric rallied volunteers to work in a Dakota County park, and the 17th year overall that Dakota Electric has been organizing its members to volunteer at local parks.

“We had beautiful weather and an enthusiastic group of volunteers,” said Joe Miller, event organizer for Dakota Electric. “This was a great project that people from young to old could enjoy doing together.

“We really appreciate all those who helped,” Miller said. “It is nice to see so many people giving their time to give back to their local community.”

This year, Great River Greening assisted in organizing and leading the event with volunteer leaders to help guide Dakota Electric’s volunteers in their work. The community-based environmental nonprofit is working with Dakota County in a multi-phase plan to restore woodland and prairie throughout the park. Funding for this project was provided from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, as well as Dakota County.

“Restoring the park at this scale can’t be done without volunteers,” Becca Tucker, GRG ecologist, said. “Dakota Electric’s volunteers got a significant amount of work accomplished.”

To view photos and a video of the event, visit www.facebook.com/dakotaelectric.

Those interested in helping in 2020 can watch for an insert in their bills next March or April. The event is usually held the first Saturday in May.

A member-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 108,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative..

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